Club Championships – Heat 7

Skipper Sarah Lee is set to enter the record books again as a season to remember continues.

Lee has helped pilot Noakes to a near unassailable position in St George’s club championship, placing another sizeable down payment last Saturday with an all-the-way win in heat seven. Combining seamlessly with 16s gurus Ricky Bridge and Pete Mackie, Lee finished nearly two minutes ahead of TTR Civil (Phil Bower), with Ace (Lachlan Steel) third and Noakes Blue (Ryan Ewings) fourth. Noakes, which also featured Tom Dawson as stand-in skipper for two races early in the campaign, enjoys a six-point lead over TTR on the overall pointscore.

Barring a complete disaster, Lee will become the first woman to win St George’s club championship since it was first contested in 1918-19. It continues on from her breakthrough victory on Southerly in the Australian 16ft Championship, where she was the first female to lift the silverware. The modest Lee doesn’t want to make a big deal about gender but admitted it’s pleasing to create a little bit of history.

“It would be awesome to record another first at St George,” she said.

“I knew if I got the right boat and crew I could do well but often things don’t quite go the way you want them to.

“This season has panned out brilliantly. I haven’t won everything on offer – that would be greedy – but I’ve definitely had a good run.

“I’ve received so much support and respect from everyone.

“I love sailing with Ricky and Pete and both the Southerly and Noakes crew are like a big, happy family.

“I feel very lucky to sail on both those boats.”

Mackie added: “It’s been the year of Sarah. She’s great to sail with. She’s very capable and falls into our rhythm really well.”

Bridge and Mackie’s local knowledge – combined with Lee’s natural sailing nous – told them to go with the little rig heading into Saturday’s race. It proved an inspired choice as they cleared out from the fleet early on.

Lee explained: “There was a mix between big and little rigs and we went conservative with the little rig.

“It was the right call given the manoeuvres that a south-east course demands.”

The final two heats of the club championship will be sailed on March 16.

Full Club Championship Results

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